Speaker of the House John Boehner resigned from his position in Congress Sept. 25.
“[That] morning I woke up, said my prayers as I always do and I decided, ‘Today’s the day, I’m going to do this.’ It’s simple as that,” Boehner said in a press conference. “That’s the code I’ve always lived by. If you do the right things for the right reasons, the right things will happen.”
This announcement came the morning after Pope Francis spoke to Congress on living by the Golden Rule.
Boehner said he and the pope were leaving the building when the pope put his arm around Boehner and asked for his prayers. The pope’s actions made Boehner think about his position as speaker of the House.
Boehner planned on stepping down from his position last year, but felt he needed to stay. He planned on announcing his resignation on his birthday, Nov. 17.
“I’ve got plenty of people following me, but this turmoil that’s been churning for a couple of months is not good for the members and not good for the institution,” Boehner said. “If I was not planning on leaving here soon, I would not have done this.”
Boehner has five more weeks in Congress as speaker.
“There’s a lot of work that needs to be done and I plan on getting as much of it done as I can before I exit,” Boehner said.
The members of the House will now have to elect a new speaker with Boehner’s upcoming exit.
President Obama hopes the next speaker will understand the importance of compromise and will lead the rest of the House toward agreement, but with Boehner’s resignation and a new selectee, problems could be stirred up in Congress between the two parties.
“If the Congress stays focused on what is important to the American people they will get along just fine,” said Boehner.
Boehner believes the number-one responsibility of the next speaker is to protect the institution and find common ground to get things done.
“I’m not here to vote, but having said that, I think Kevin McCarthy would make an excellent speaker,” Boehner said.
His decision comes after 25 years in Congress and after meeting with thousands of people as an influential congressman and speaker.
“I was never in the legacy business. You’ve all heard me say it. I’m a regular guy with a big job,” said Boehner. “I never thought I would be in Congress much less the speaker, but people know me as being fair, being honest, being straightforward and trying to do the right thing every day on behalf of the country. I don’t need any more than that.”